Lance Armstrong will compete in the Tour of California in May with his new Team RadioShack squad, after the riders and race organisers announced their plans on free social networking site Twitter. Armstrong's decision means it is very unlikely that he will be riding the Giro d'Italia though.
Armstrong, a seven-time winner of the Tour de France, finished seventh in last year’s California event and he will compete with teammate Levi Leipeimer, three time winner of the event. The Tour of California has moved back in the racing calendar from it's usual February slot and next year starts on May 16, while the Giro starts on May 8th – unless Armstrong is planning on getting in amongst the first weeks sprinting action before pulling he won't be at the Giro.
No doubt the Texan will hope for a better result this time, and also a better time off the track too after his time-trial bike was stolen from his team’s truck during this year’s Tour of California. Two men were arrested in connection with the theft. However given Armstrong's likely focus on the Tour (another reason his participation in the Giro was always going to be doubtful) the Tour of California is going to be more about his build up to July in France.
America's most prestigious road race will cover more than 750 miles and pass through 16 cities across the state. It begins on May 16 in Nevada City and finishes eight days later in Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village.
The tour features 16 professional teams and about 150 cyclists and the event will include the tour's first mountaintop finish, at Big Bear Lake in the San Gabriel Mountains, and a pivotal time trial in downtown Los Angeles – a perfect tune-up for the Tour de France which will start in July.
Team RadioShack, who were granted a ProTour licence for the next three years from the UCI last week, will make its debut at January’s Tour Down Under in Australia, race organisers said in August.
And RadioShack are putting together a strong roster of talent for 2010 as well as Armstrong, they have also signed Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Kloden, Chris Horner and a number of promising younger riders such as Daryl Impey and Ben Hermans.